Restoration of Signboards 

National Palace Museum of Korea

These old signboards that once hung from palace buildings were recently restored by the conservators of the National Palace Museum of Korea. Bearing the names “Gyeongandang” and “Pyeongnakjeong”, the signboards acquired their current shape after a complex treatment process involving the cleaning, stabilization and restoration of the missing parts, as well as color matching and assembly.

Korea has a long tradition of marking a building by hanging from it a wooden sign bearing its name. As shown by the many classical buildings of Gyeongbokgung Palace, signboards were typically hung at the center of the front eaves.

Gyeongandang Signboard
The word “Gyeongandang” (敬安堂) is embossed in relief on white background. Gyeongandang refers to the Seonwonjeon Temple ritual shrine (Iancheong) at Gyeongbokgung Palace which was restored during the King Gojong era. Seonwonjeon Temple is located at the present site of the National Folk Museum of Korea. The frame features a multi-color pattern on red background. The horizontal and vertical arabesque work on each side of the frame connects to each other.
Pyeongnakjeong Signboard
The word “Pyeongnakjeong” (平樂亭) is embossed in relief on white background. The frame features a multi-color pattern on red background. Pyeongnakjeong is located at Seonhuigung, the shrine of Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Jeonui Lee Clan (a.k.a. Lady Seonhui; 1696 - 1764), who gave birth to Crown Prince Sado as a royal concubine of King Yeongjo. Currently located within the Chilgung (Seven Palaces) compound in Gungjeong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
1. Cleaning 

Removal of surface contaminants using a soft brush and vacuum cleaner. Removal of contaminants (e.g. dirt between wedges) using a 2 wt% solution (in water) of rabbit-skin glue and stencil brush.

Removal of contaminants on inner board using a 30 wt% solution (in water) of alcohol.

2. Pigment Stabilization

Varnishing of multi-color pattern on frame using a 2 wt% solution (in water) of rabbit-skin glue.

Re-adhesion of floating base pigment on Gyeongandang signboard using wheat starch paste.

3. Restoration of Missing Portion
Using the intact areas as a basis, missing frame portion restored with dried red pine (variety of nut pine) piece.
4. Color

Restored portion color-matched using red ocher. Deteriorated black pigment on Pyeongnakjeong signboard color-matched using black ink.

5. Assembly

Assembly using fish glue and bamboo dowels; Secured for fastening using clamps.

Bamboo dowels inserted to match existing holes

Credits: Story


Ki-beom Yoon

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